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Needle Sharp - Demo

Needle Sharp - CD Review


Needle Sharp


CD Info
4 tracks
English lyrics

Readers may know that Needle Sharp was my favorite live band in Paris when I lived there for a year (see interview here). Needless to say, I was happy when they recently released a new demo on bandcamp for listening and purchase. In my opinion, it’s a must buy for all fans of catchy, guitar-driven music and dynamic vocals.

The album opens with a song that has been a mainstay of Needle Sharp’s live shows, “Keep the Faith” (previously called “Keep the Faith in Love”). It begins with quiet, melodic guitar before launching into a more aggressive version of the same melody, showcasing the impressive guitar-playing skills of Romain and Matt. Singer Laellou then joins the mix, with strong belted vocals. But that’s not all she can do. This song also showcases her versatility: at various times she uses a pretty, high voice; a lower, husky voice; and fierce growls. Laellou can really do a lot with her voice (as proven by what she can do in a live acoustic setting with no equipment whatsoever). In “Keep the Faith,” her vocals are also enhanced by Romain and Matt’s backing vocals on the chorus. The song also benefits from several great riffs besides just the one in the opening and an excellent rhythm section (bassist Gus and new drum wizard Roméo), who deliver both driving and funky beats. A live version of this song can be seen here.

Next up is “Over the Hill,” another energetic song from the band’s live repertoire. It starts with two more strong riffs, great for headbanging, and features more excellent vocals. Here, Laellou sometimes reminds me a bit of Gwen Stefani. Her lyrics are strong too (though some of them may require a couple of careful listens for American ears to understand). Here, she challenges you to go “over the hill” from the rut you may be in. “All that you feel, can become real.”

The third song, “Pretty Princess,” is new and may be Needle Sharp’s best song to date. It’s a tour de force for their catchy, heavy music and captivating vocals. Lyrically, it explores how too many guys treat an intelligent, pretty woman like Laellou: “When I open my mouth to speak, that’s not what they want…I don’t want to be just a hole.” I especially love when Laellou belts “honey, you’re a” and then switches to a growl for “fucking bastard.” I also love her repeated chant toward the end of the song, accompanied by a hypnotic riff: “And every time I’ve been listening to their lies, but there’s no fairy tales I know.” She finishes with a snarled version of the same line. Strong stuff.

The last song, “Open the Door,” may trick you with its quiet and pretty guitar opening. Ballad time you think, until Laellou growls “Feeeaaarrr.” This song quickly turns into another showcase of her varied vocals and the band’s strong guitar playing, including a couple of very nice solos. The guys also provide more backing vocals, which work very well.

Overall, I think this is a great album. The band modestly calls it a demo, but I think it should really be called an EP since it features polished “version 2” songs. In any event, I hope it is soon followed by a full album. Needle Sharp is not that famous yet, but their sound should have broad appeal. I’ve previously compared them to Halestorm or “Breaking the Law” era Judas Priest, and they cite Deftones as an influence, and those comparisons are all apt, but Needle Sharp has its own style. They combine outstanding vocals and guitar with catchy rhythms. They are dynamic, melodic, and varied. What’s not to like?

Rating 10 out of 10.